Wednesday, April 18, 2007

'So Very Sorry'

Something didn't sit right with me when I read this story today in the WaPo. Cho Seung Hui, the perpetrator of the Virgina Tech shooting, merely shares an ethnicity with these people. So why is Yung Yang, a South Korean-native secretary from Annandale, apologizing for the actions of this deranged young man? Sure, when there's a national tragedy everyone feels the need to have their heart go out to them, but apologizing on behalf of an entire ethnicity?

Cho entered the states when he was a young boy, and though I'm sure his ethnicity played into the ostracizing he felt, the reality is that mental health isn't taken seriously until someone gets hurt from it.

Many of the people sitting on death row are victims of post-traumatic stress disorder and victims of abuse, both of which can cause severe mental disturbance. Cho himself doesn't have a full psychological profile, partially because his instructor's cries for counseling for him went unheard.

The answer is that there is no easy answer. A number of factors play into what turns a citizen into a criminal. The largest factor of is psychological disturbance -- something that is very difficult to spot, but once it's spotted, we should pay attention.

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